June 2014 events calendar for things to do in Chicago

Plan your June in Chicago with our events calendar of the best activities, including free things to do, and picks from theater, art and music

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Summer is finally here, the beaches are open and snow-covered streets seem like a distant memory. There are many reasons we love Chicago, and June is one of the months that reinforces our civic pride. We're ready to enjoy the beautiful weather and eat outside in patios and gardens. Music festival season is in full swing with Blues Fest and Spring Awakening. Street festivals take over the city every weekend, including Taste of Randolph and Ribfest Chicago. Vampire Weekend, Morrissey and Disclosure lead the pack of the best concerts in Chicago this month. Plus, it's Pride Month, which means Pride Fest is just around the corner, followed by the colorful Pride Parade.

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2014

"Isa Genzken: Retrospective"

  • Critics choice

Born in 1948, Genzken is one of the most prominent figures within the postwar generation of German artists, and among the most influential female artists working today. Prolific as she's been in recent years, this production only scratches the surface of a four-decade career that has taken a sharply incisive, postfeminist perspective on our globalist society and the way culture functions within it.

  1. Museum of Contemporary Art 220 E Chicago Ave, at Mies van der Rohe Way
  2. Until Sun Aug 3
More info

"The Left Front: Radical Art in the 'Red Decade,' 1929-1940"

Named after a journalist who witnessed the 1917 Russian Revolution, the John Reed Club used its art as a social weapon—something far beyond political cartoon. The paintings and inking of grotesque fatcats and slumped, shadowy workers obviously still resonate, in the wake of our own great recession.

  1. Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art Northwestern University, 40 Arts Circle Dr
  2. Sun Jun 22
More info

Do Division Street Fest

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

In its eighth year, Do Division, the street shindig booked by Empty Bottle and House Call Entertainment, holds down the last weekend in May. Shopping is merely one diversion. The vendors' wares along Division Street are rivaled only by the excess of street-side eye candy—other pretty, young things who bring their sartorial A-game.

  1. Division St between Damen Ave and Leavitt St Division St, between Damen Ave and Leavitt St
  2. Sun Jun 1
More info

Thalia Hall Haul Community Market

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The newly opened music Pilsen music venue hosts its inaugural community market event, inviting local food, craft and furniture vendors into the refurbished space. Attendees can shop, eat, drink and take a walk through the historic concert hall without being distracted by a band playing onstage.

  1. Thalia Hall 1807 S Allport St, at 18th St
  2. Sun Jun 1
More info

Vampire Weekend

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Vampire Weekend aren’t phoneys. Firstly, they chose their name before the whole prepubescent Twilight craze kicked off. What’s more, they all studied musicology, making them that rare thing on today’s rock scene: a band who know their shit.

  1. UIC Pavilion 525 S Racine Ave
  2. Until Thu Jun 5
Buy tickets

Hubbard Street Dance: Summer Series

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Hubbard Street Dance returns to the Harris Theater, presenting a special program that includes the premiere of The Impossible by resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo. The show also includes a performance of Nacho Duato's Gnawa, inspired by the rhythms of North Africa and Spain as well as Quintett by Willam Forsythe. On Friday, the program will be simulcast on the Pritzker Pavilion's 40-foot LED screen as part of a free outdoor event.

  1. Harris Theater 205 E Randolph St, between Michigan Ave and Columbus Dr
  2. Sun Jun 8
Buy tickets

Andersonville Midsommarfest

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Get ready to dance around the Maypole at Andersonville's annual celebration of its Swedish heritage. The LGBT-friendly event showcases international performers, Nordic cuisine and an array of family activities. Skål!

  1. Andersonville N Clark St, between W Foster and W Bryn Mawr Aves
  2. Sun Jun 8
More info

Ribfest Chicago

  • Critics choice

Head to Northcenter to dig into over 50,000 pounds of ribs and BBQ and don't forget to grab some napkins. The annual celebration of saucy pork will also play host to RibMania, the Midwest's only sanctioned rib-eating contest, which invites amateur and professional competitive eaters to chow down for a cash prize.

  1. Lincoln Avenue / Irving Park Road / Damen Avenue Lincoln Avenue, Irving Park Road / Damen Avenue
  2. Sun Jun 8
More info

"Simon Starling: Metamorphology"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Simon Starling emerged from the Galsgow art scene in the early 1990s, creating memorable films, photographs and installations that repurpose existing materials to impart new stories and insights. "Metamorphology" is the first large-scale survey of Starling's work to be hosted by a major American museum.

  1. Museum of Contemporary Art 220 E Chicago Ave, at Mies van der Rohe Way
  2. Until Sun Nov 2
More info

Bacon Chase 5K & 0.05K

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

You can justify devouring bacon when it's preceded by a run (right?). Bacon Chase participants can run a 0.05K or 5K marathon with bacon bits along the course, unlimited bacon at the finish line, access to a post-run bacon festival and more.

  1. Montrose Beach Lake Shore Dr, between Wilson and Lawrence Aves
  2. Until Sat Jun 7
Buy tickets

Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Get your lit fix as the city's historic former bookmaking hub hosts the Midwest's biggest free outdoor ode to literature. Publishers, booksellers, literacy and cultural organizations advocate books and related merchandise in different lanuages and genres, while authors participate in panels and discussion.

  1. Printers Row Dearborn St, between Congress Pkwy and Polk St
  2. Sun Jun 8
More info

Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Even just workshopping Force Majeure last year, the world-renowned comedian and "executive transvestite" dazzled with his language games, historical concerns and fanciful visions of yak dressage. No doubt when Izzard visits the city as part of this global tour, the finished product will be as energetic, witty and strangely informative as past efforts.

  1. Chicago Theatre 175 N State St, between Randolph and Lake Sts
  2. Until Mon Jun 9
More info

Downtown Sound: Omar Souleyman

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Though a firm favourite of more leftfield festivals and audiences, Omar Souleyman (not to be confused with Detroit legend Omar S) is really as accessible as hummus. The Syrian singer never fails to galvanise a crowd, channelling Middle Eastern music through a techno-informed prism, and is helped out as always by his master keyboardist Rizan Said by his side.

  1. Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion 205 E Randolph St, Michigan Ave and Columbus Dr
  2. Until Mon Jun 9
More info

This Is Our Youth

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

It’s hard to imagine a more unexpected Hipster Youth movement at Steppenwolf than Scott Pilgrim vs. the World costars Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin and Rookie editrix Tavi Gevinson starring in Kenneth Lonergan’s 1996 document of Gen X disaffection. (Bonus hip factor: The production sports an original score by Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij.) The summer surprise, directed by Steppenwolf ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro, is backed by Broadway bigwig Scott Rudin, who will shepherd it intact for an August opening on the Great White Way.

  1. Steppenwolf Theatre Company 1650 N Halsted St, between Willow St and North Ave
  2. Until Sun Jul 27
Buy tickets

The Last Ship

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Can Sting’s earnest, rustic folk tunes successfully propel a Broadway tuner? We’ll get the first look at the New York–bound musical inspired by the closing of a shipyard in Gordon Sumner’s hometown of Wallsend, with a book by John Logan and Brian Yorkey and direction by Joe Mantello.

  1. Bank of America Theatre 18 W Monroe St, between State and Dearborn Sts
  2. Until Sun Jul 13
Buy tickets

Disclosure + Joey Bada$$ + Green Velvet

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Whoa, what a concert amongst the elephants. Based in south London, Disclosure are the scarily young Lawrence brothers, Guy and Howard. Get ready for hands in the air and feet on the dancefloor—er, zoo floor—as they play from their critically adored debut album Settle.

  1. Lincoln Park Zoo 2001 N Clark St, between Lake Shore Dr and Fullerton Pkwy
  2. Until Wed Jun 11
Buy tickets

Backstreet Boys + Avril Lavigne

  • Price band: 1/4

Backstreet's back, finishing up its global 20th anniversary (wow, we're old) tour, In a World Like This. The harmonic man-pop act is sort of peaking again, with a nostalgic cameo in raunchy comedy This Is the End. Tagging along with the Boys is "Sk8er Boi" pop-punker Lavigne.

  1. FirstMerit Bank Pavilion 1300 S Linn White Dr, at Solidarity Dr
  2. Until Wed Jun 11
Buy tickets

26th Annual Comedy Festival

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Despite the name, this is the first year for this new mini-festival from The Onion and The A.V. Club, which brings Marc Maron, Tig Notaro, Kyle Kinane and Comedy Bang! Bang! to the Athenaeum over three nights.

  1. Athenaeum Theatre 2936 N Southport Ave, at Oakdale Ave
  2. Until Sat Jun 14
More info

Chicago Bike Week

  • Critics choice

Even if you don't pedal to work during this week devoted to carless transpotation, you'll still find plenty to do. Last year's event featured outdoor spin classes in front of the Bean, yoga classes in Daley Plaza, bike tours and culminated with a Bike to Work Rally with complimentary breakfast.

  1. Daley Plaza Washington and Dearborn Sts
  2. Until Fri Jun 20
More info

Chicago Blues Fest

  • Critics choice
  • Free

In its 31st year, the Grant Park tradition takes on a New Orleans flavor. Aaron Neville and Dr. John headline on the final day, Sunday. Dr. John has been in the spotlight of late, recording a smokin' comeback album with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and dropping mystic food aphorisms on Top Chef.

  1. Grant Park 337 E Randolph St, at Columbus Dr
  2. Until Sun Jun 15
More info

Spring Awakening Festival

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Local promoter React Presents keeps making its mammoth EDM festival so more mammother, with bigger stages, acts and bass drops. If you're looking for mellow, run away. This is an orgy of neon, skin and low end frequencies. A couple of c-notes might seem steep for a concert, but that's VIP bottle service to see just one of these A-listers.

  1. Soldier Field 1410 S Museum Campus Dr, at McFetridge Dr
  2. Until Sun Jun 15
Buy tickets

Taste of Randolph

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

In the same area as some of Chicago's well-known restaurants, including Stephanie Izzard's Girl & the Goat, this West Loop fest boasts six blocks of food, drink and music.

  1. Randolph St 900 W Randolph St, between Peoria St and Racine Ave
  2. Until Sun Jun 15
More info

Sleep Under the Skyscrapers: Outdoor Campout

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

We've all seen the sun rise on beautiful animals in The Lion King, but what happenes at night? Lincoln Park Zoo allows animal lovers to explore after hours, whether it's a late-night visit from 7–10:30pm or a full campout on the zoo grounds, complete with a hike, a campfire, s'mores, campfire stories and plenty of animal watching.

  1. Lincoln Park Zoo 2001 N Clark St, between Lake Shore Dr and Fullerton Pkwy
  2. Until Sat Aug 16
More info

6 Corners BBQ Fest

  • Price band: 1/4

Celebrate Father's Day weekend by pigging out with your dad at 6 Corners BBQ Fest. Amateur grill masters should take note of the Meat on Milwaukee Cook-off on Sunday, where contestants will compete to be named the block's best backyard chef. We need a wet nap just thinking about it.

  1. Six Corners 4000–4080 Milwaukee Ave, at Irving Park Rd and Cicero Ave
  2. Sun Jun 15
More info

Morrissey

  • Critics choice

A decade after his first major comeback, the old romantic misanthrope is clawing to another career peak. His 2013 Autobiography was a smash bestseller at book stores, and of course the animal rights activist has had some fantastic barbed and bitter ripostes for the Queen and lesser meat eaters lately.

  1. Civic Opera House 20 N Wacker Dr, at Madison St
  2. Until Mon Jun 16
Buy tickets

Queen with Adam Lambert

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Yep, that Queen, the classic rock act with the incomparable lead singer who passed away in 1991. Still, that hasn't stopped Brian May from reuniting Wayne Campbell's favorite car karaoke band. Paul Rodgers has played the part of Mercury in the past; now American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert steps in to belt "Don't Stop Me Now."

  1. United Center 1901 W Madison St, between Wood St and Damen Ave
  2. Until Thu Jun 19
Buy tickets

Red Bull Flying Bach

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

It makes sense that a German breakdance crew would decide to perform to Bach's solo keyboard music mixed with electronic beats. The result is an energetic, Red Bull-powered live performance that merges classical music and modern dance. Baroque fans and b-boys, unite!

  1. Civic Opera House 20 N Wacker Dr, at Madison St
  2. Until Sun Jun 29
Buy tickets

Renegade Craft Fair Mini Market

  • Free

If you can't wait until September for the annual Renegade Craft Fair, you're in luck. This year, the Fair will be hitting Chicago for a Mini Market at Pilsen art center Mana Contemporary. The miniature version of the organization's flagship event will feature more than 80 vendors, food, drinks and art installations.

  1. Mana Contemporary 2233 S Throop St, at Cermak Rd
  2. Sun Jun 22
More info

Chicago Pride Fest

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Prep for the following weekend's annual Pride Parade with Chicago's LGBT community at this celebration. The event offers musical entertainment, local vendors and a Pet Pride Parade at 12:30pm on Sunday.

Paschke in the Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Celebrate the opening of the Ed Paschke Art Center on what would have been the Chicago artist's 75th birthday. Attendees can get creative by participating in mural painting, face painting and constructing Lego sculptures. If you're not feeling particularly inspired, sit back and take in performances from the Redmoon Theater company and 3M Wizards.

  1. Jefferson Memorial Park 4822 N Long Ave, at Lawrence Ave
  2. Sun Jun 22
More info

Daryl Hall & John Oates

  • Price band: 2/4

It’s difficult to imagine Hall & Oates as mega pop stars and MTV staples, but hey, that was the ’80s. Since then the duo's tunes have been cemented somewhere between kitsch and classic at many a hip-kid dance party. But most of the hits have aged pretty well, as has, importantly, Daryl Hall’s voice.

  1. Ravinia Pavilion 418 Sheridan Rd, between Lake Cook and Green Bay Rds
  2. Until Sun Jun 22
Buy tickets

Downtown Sound: Bob Mould

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Formerly a leading member of Hüsker Du and Sugar, Mould is an alt.rock icon with many guises these days: house music DJ, spoken-word sage, Daft Punk-influencing guitar hero… Tonight he plays solo material with his band, and should lob in a few classics from his old groups too. He has a new Sugary record out on Merge, Beauty & Ruin.

  1. Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion 205 E Randolph St, Michigan Ave and Columbus Dr
  2. Until Mon Jun 23
More info

"Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Trains in fireplaces! Apple obscured faces! Pipes that are not not pipes! Magritte is responsible for some of the most striking and memorable images of 20th century painting. Oddly, this is the first major museum exhibit to focus on the Belgian surrealist's bonanza years.

  1. Art Institute of Chicago 111 S Michigan Ave, at Adams St
  2. Until Mon Oct 13
Buy tickets

Cat Power + Rufus Wainwright

  • Price band: 2/4

For much of her career, Chan Marshall was far from a sure thing, her performances as Cat Power erratic and uncomfortable. A few years ago, a Cat Power solo show would have seemed out of the question. These days, it's something to look forward to. With Wainwright's opera dreams fulfilled, or at least in the rearview, he’s turned his attention back to filigreed pop unburdened by conceptual weight.

  1. Ravinia Pavilion 418 Sheridan Rd, between Lake Cook and Green Bay Rds
  2. Until Wed Jun 25
Buy tickets

Brigadoon

  • Price band: 3/4

The mythical Scottish village of Brigadoon only manifests for one day every 100 years. Lerner and Loewe’s romantic 1947 musical about the town, featuring numbers like “Almost Like Being In Love," doesn’t appear much more often than that in Chicago, making Rachel Rockwell’s Goodman production one not to miss.

  1. Goodman Theatre 170 N Dearborn St, between Randolph and Lake Sts
  2. Until Sun Aug 17
Buy tickets

Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

At the end of June, the stretch of Milwaukee Avenue that runs through Logan Square turns into one big gallery hop, as more than 50 visual artists display their work at various pop-up locales. The three-day festival also features live music, performance art, food from local restaurants (Longman & Eagle, Lula Cafe) and drinks from area bars (Revolution Brewing, Parson's Chicken & Fish).

  1. Milwaukee Ave Milwaukee Ave at Higgins Rd
  2. Until Sun Jun 29
More info

Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

World's largest? Um, don't call Guinness. Old St. Patrick's Church hosts this beast of a block party to benefit area education and outreach programs. The annual celebration—which features live music, food and drinks—turns 30 this year.

  1. Old Saint Patrick's Church 700 W Adams St, between Halsted and Desplaines Sts
  2. Until Sat Jun 28
More info

Printers Ball: Chatter

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Spudnik Press Cooperative presents its 10th annual celebration of literary culture and printmaking at the Hubbard Street Lofts. This year's event is inspired by "Chatter," a term used by printmakers that describes the ink debris surrounding an image. Programming will include a conversation with designer Chip Kidd, performances from some of Chicago's most popular reading series, printmaking and art demonstrations as well as a beer garden curated by Maria's Packaged Goods.

  1. Hubbard Street Lofts 1821 W Hubbard St, between Wood St and Wolcott Ave
  2. Sat Jun 28
Buy tickets

Chicago Pride Parade

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Chicago's LGBT community comes out to celebrate with a parade that attracts over one million attendees. You'll want to head to the parade route early to grab a spot before the procession starts rolling down from Montrose to Diversey.

  1. Pride Parade Route 4400 N Broadway St, Chicago, Montrose Ave
  2. Until Sun Jun 29
More info

Downtown Sound: My Brightest Diamond

  • Critics choice
  • Free

My Brightest Diamond's work vacillates between dark and uplifting on the strength of Shara Worden's expressive vocal acrobatics. A follow-up to 2011's All Things Will Unwind is due this year. This is not her first time at the city's Downtown Sound summer music series. Ubiquitous local sibling garage act White Mystery open.

  1. Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion 205 E Randolph St, Michigan Ave and Columbus Dr
  2. Until Mon Jun 30
More info

Randolph Street Market Festival

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

More than 200 vendors hawk their antique housewares, furniture, ephemera, clothing and more at this indoor-outdoor festival. Stop in for vintage clothes and jewelry, a vinyl swap meet, a fancy food market and global goods bazaar or bring your own items for appraisal.

  1. Randolph Street Market 1340 W Washington Blvd
  2. Sat Aug 30 - Sun Oct 26
Buy tickets


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